The state Legislature is nothing if not consistent. It as bad enough that the Legislature failed once again to pass a budget on time for the beginning of states new fiscal year. Now this body of bums has added insult to injury by failing to...
You can wait
The state Legislature is nothing if not consistent. It as bad enough that the Legislature failed once again to pass a budget on time for the beginning of states new fiscal year. Now this body of bums has added insult to injury by failing to approve a $400 real estate tax rebate before going on vacation.
Having done virtually nothing since January, one might think that the senators and Assembly members could have postponed the start of richly unearned vacation in order to pass the rebate. But these elected officials decided that the people of New York City could wait. It may be small change to the Legislature, but to a family in Queens the money might have meant a small vacation or money to buy back-to-school clothes. For the average working-class family, this is a chunk of change.
Please ignore those who argue that the rebate is unfair to the poor who cannot afford to buy a home. The rebate is your money. The mayor and City Council decided that money was not needed to balance the budget and should be given back to its rightful owners. It is an anachronism that the state needs to approve this rebate. This gives legislators who have no connection to New York City and nothing to gain by treating the city fairly far too much input.
But we digress. The problem isnt that the Legislature opposed the rebate. The problem is that they went on vacation without even considering it. If you weren't convinced before that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate majority Leader Joseph Bruno need to be replaced, you should be now.
Pull back the curtain
At Flushing Airport
It is a simple principle that should not need defense: the business of government is best conducted in the light of day. City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) should be commended for his battle to force the citys Economic Development Corporation to allow the public to view the Requests for Proposals submitted for developing the Flushing Airport site in College Point.
Avella and local community activists are opposed to a plan that would allow the creation of a 180-business wholesale import and export complex on the site of the defunct Flushing Airport, a property that abuts the College Point Corporate Park on the Whitestone Expressway and 20th Avenue. Local residents would prefer that the area be used for additional recreational facilities or even that it remain as wetlands.
The residents of College Point, especially those living near 20th Avenue, have witnessed enormous development over the last 10 years. The opening of chain stores such as Target and Modells has had an impact on the quality of life, creating traffic congestion and noise. It has also created jobs, increased city sales tax revenues and encouraged local residents to do their shopping in Queens.
Mayor Bloomberg and the EDC can hardly be faulted for wanting to encourage business development in the area. It may turn out that the creation of the import and export complex is the best use of this city-owned property. But the public has the right to know all that went into making this decision. Last week the State Committee on Open Government concluded that Avella and the community activists have the right to review the RFPs.
We hope the EDC will reconsider its decision and allow the public full access to every stage of the development process.
©2004 Community News Group
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